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The 3 Question PPC Audit
“No thanks, we don’t need PPC management. We have someone in-house that handles it, and we’re happy with the results.” We hear this quite frequently from our SEO clients, and it makes sense. There are a million different factors that go into SEO, from content to some pretty technical stuff, and the results are not immediate. So it can certainly be difficult for in-house marketers to know if what they’re doing is right.
Comparatively, PPC seems very easy. There’s one main interface (AdWords), and you can clearly see the traffic generated by your efforts.
“You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know.”
This is a saying our President, Ben Landers, uses pretty often and it’s held true for everything that I’ve invested years to learn – sports, cooking, and PPC. Initially, something about these subjects piqued my interest, so I did some research, tried it out for myself, and got everything to work correctly. At this point, my confidence was high. “I can throw a football!” “I can cook a meal!” “I can set up an AdWords campaign!”
It wasn’t until I learned enough to understand what NFL teams were doing, what the best restaurant chefs were making, and how good agencies handle PPC that I realized how freaking little I actually knew.
Now what I’m about to say obviously doesn’t apply to every in-house PPC person. You may have a rock star campaign manager, and if so, PPC Hero has a good article about why you need to pay that person the big bucks. I would expect such a person to have some agency experience because that is the best way to learn best practices and how to implement them.
But very often, the people who say that they’re happy with their in-house person have the worst run accounts. They don’t know this because they don’t know what they don’t know.
Not sure about your PPC campaigns? Don’t worry, here are three quick questions to help you find out if your campaigns are being run well:
1. Are you tracking conversions?
Conversions are the actions you want someone to take on your site that will drive your revenue – filling out a lead form, buying a product, etc. You absolutely 10000% need to be tracking conversions. It’s not enough to know how many clicks to websites your ads are getting. If those clicks don’t turn into leads and sales, you’re just wasting money. Also, if you don’t know what parts of your PPC campaign are generating leads and sales, then you won’t know how to improve them.
2. Are you using negative keywords?
AdWords targets your ads by how users’ searches relate to keywords that you select. However, not all keyword searches are going to be relevant for your business. For instance, we work with a lot of plumbers, and while we want to show ads for “septic tank repair,” we don’t want to show ads for “do it yourself septic tank repair.” This person is clearly trying to find out how to do the work themselves without hiring a professional. They are unlikely to contribute to your business, so you don’t want to pay for them to visit your site.
Negative keywords allow you to choose terms you don’t want to show ads for. Not using them is likely to result in a lot of undesired traffic to your site and thus a lot of wasted money.
3. Are you using different keyword match types?
You can choose how search queries match to the keywords you select, whether they have to appear exactly as you wrote, whether there can be other words in the search, or if you want to show for other related terms.
The default setting is “Broad” match, meaning that Google will show your ads for any search they think is related to your keyword. This is also the least used match type by PPC experts. It is simply too uncontrollable to be central to your PPC strategy. I’ve seen Google broad match keywords to some odd unrelated searches. Broad match has its place for finding keyword ideas, but if you’re not using Exact and Phrase match more, I can guarantee your account is not running efficiently.
So How Well Did You Do?
Those were my three critical questions to ask yourself (or whoever manages PPC on your team) in order to make sure your PPC campaigns are using the basic best practices. If you are doing these, kudos to you; you’re doing better than most companies out there. There is still so much more to PPC management beyond this that we would love to talk with you about.
If you aren’t doing these things, I can without a doubt say that you are wasting money. Please give us a call or fill out the form below for a free analysis of your current PPC campaigns.
About The Author: Spencer is a PPC Specialist at Blue Corona. His favorite activities are cooking and making spreadsheets.
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